Leaving Indonesia, we were set for the a long trip to The Philippines, a country we had heard so many good things about. With the recent surge of viral videos on social media it’s a country we couldn’t afford to miss as it seemed to offer so much for the hungry travellers such as ourselves.
The journey started with a 6 hour flight to Kuala Lumper from Denpasar Bali, followed by a 10 hour overnight stop off in the airport, a 4 hour flight to Manila, a 2 hour flight to Cebu then a 2 hour taxi with the most chatty taxi man practising his English to us to Boljoon (small city in Cebu). We arrived extremely late and as you could imagine were pretty miserable and exhausted, sleeping in airports isn’t what it’s all that cracked up to be.
We checked into our hostel (Noordzee Hostel) late so the following morning Will and I left our friends asleep whilst we awoke early for a much needed gym session. We initially went to do a HIIT at some gigantic staircase however we couldn’t find them (Me and directions = not so good). We settled on using the hostel gym, well I wouldn’t exactly call it a gym but it was pretty sick! The Bench press was made from an old sun lounger so was pretty painful on our backs but no pain no gain, right ;) and the weights were all made from concrete slabs.
We were not complaining though, when it’s 30 degrees and your gym is like this, why complain eh?
Once we finished our workout we wondered around the remainder of our hostel. The only hostel with other travellers and the only hostel in Boljoon actually. The hostel was awesome, accommodated with a beautiful restaurant on the edge of a mountain, a small plunge pool, private beach, gym and only a few hundred metres from the local village. Noordzee Hostel Boljoon is a great place to stay and we highly recommended staying here. The main reason being it is close to all the exciting things you’ll be wanting to do like swimming with Whale Sharks (more to come on this).
Heading late into the morning we decided to wake our friends and visit the local village to grab a bite to eat and get our first impression of The Philippines. There wasn’t too much to go by as Boljoon was so small and the village held nothing more than a small market selling fruit and vegetables, a few bakeries and and a couple of small hideaways which sold home made street food. We managed to find a chicken stand which you’ll find all over The Philippines. So if you like chicken and protein like us then you’ll love The Philippines chickens! We each bought a full chicken and demolished the entire thing with some rice for about £2.50.
The following day we woke up around 6am and decided to do a quick HIIT before watching the sunrise over breakfast from the restaurant. Then it was time! Time to head to the famous Kawasan Waterfalls about a 2/3 hour journey to Badian which has the most incredible set of waterfalls this world has to offer. As soon as we got off the bus we were greeted by a few salesman offering us to do the canyoneering tour which we passed on and decided to visit the falls ourselves. With only a short walk through a forest surrounded by the beautiful rivers, people selling fresh honey and delicious chocolate filled doughnuts (incredible btw) we knew we were in for a treat. OMG! Was our exact reaction as we finally came came across the waterfall, all we could see was the colour blue, a picture perfect place we can honestly say we would never get bored of looking at. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
After seeing what the rest of the falls had to offer we decided pay a taxi to take us to a hidden gem we had stumbled upon whilst reading a blog. Yet again we were blown away when we arrived to another incredible set of waterfalls called Aguinid Falls. We arrived at closing time but offered a local Filipino a small fee to take us on a private tour after hours. Lucky for us we had the entire place to ourselves. However, with the sun setting fast we unfortunately only managed to see 2 out of the 6 stages but it was still incredible what we had to see.
We took the long bus journey home and after having to listen to the locals dreadful karaoke for a few hours we eventually drifted off before our 4:30am wake up call the following day. All exhausted and a little grouchy we boarded the bus and took a short 25 minute drive along the coast into Oslob Town which we had heard good things about. We were dropped off and headed straight to the main centre where the sun was beginning to rise over the waters. It was only at this point when it hit us, we were about to swim with Whale Sharks. Safe to say the nerves were kicking in right about now. After signing in we headed to the port where we would take a small fishing boat out to begin the trip. When we arrived at the port it was chaos, there were thousands of people running around and it hadn’t even hit 6:30am yet. Slightly annoying as we were expecting no decent pictures or any chance of even seeing a whale shark. After a short presentation we waited about 30 minutes before our number was called. We boarded our boat and came to the swimming area where we were amongst about 50 other boats of tourists. Lucky for us all these other boats were filled with Chinese tourists wearing life jackets and too afraid to get in the water. Out of all the boats we were the only ones who decided to go for a swim.
It’s safe to say on behalf of all of us this was one of the most incredible things we have ever done. The whale sharks are free to swim around and they are fed by the locals hence why they come back to the swimming area. Swimming amongst these amazing creatures before 7am was probably the best morning we've ever spent. Not so bad to tick this off of the bucket list that’s for sure.
Swimming with Whale Sharks is hungry work I tell you, so once we had our fun we headed back to the main centre for breakfast where there was plenty of street food buffet styled restaurants to choose from. Fresh fish, meats, rice and mixed vegetables, not your everyday breakfast but what else can you expect in Asia. After lunch we decided to head to Tumalog Falls, another iconic waterfall in Cebu. We got dropped off at the bottom of the hill and began the 3km extremely steep journey up toward the waterfall. Being fit lads we even recommend paying the 30 peso and getting a Filipino to bike you to the top but we considered it as additional cardio for us so we weren’t too fussed. How the locals reacted to us walking when we got to the top is a story for another day, it was weird, we’ll leave it there. This waterfall was incredible, the entrance was covered by bamboo trees like your entering a new world. Greeted by a beautiful blue rock pool and enormous waterfall we had the entire place to ourselves. It’s mental to think the world can create things as majestic as this.
An exhausting but incredible morning to end our time in one of the most amazing islands we’ve ever been to. After an incredible start to our island hopping adventure in The Philippines it was time for the next adventure…Boracay.
Below I have listed a whole bunch of other cool things you can do in Cebu.